Shout out for procurement

9 September 2010
One thing that occurred to me at last night’s CIPS Supply Management Awards (apart from the impressive line up of winners and showcasing of excellent work) was this: it was the most vocal crowd I’ve heard yet. Perhaps it’s a leap to assume the profession as a whole is becoming more vociferous, but there were a number of announcements that provoked a passionate reaction from the audience. There was a spontaneous round of applause for David Smith following the revelation from CIPS president Shirley Cooper that he will take up the post of vice-president of the institute this autumn. Perhaps there were many admirers of David’s work as commercial director at the Department for Work and Pensions gathered – or maybe they were groupies of his band The Front Covers. Either way it was a warm welcome for Smith, who will be chairman of the judges for next year’s awards. Less supportive noises were audible when HM Revenue & Customs was named among the short-listed contenders in the ‘best contribution to corporate responsibility’ category. And while Premier Foods and British Sugar scooped the overall award of the night, the largest cheer of the evening went to the Caravan Club, named in the short list for the ‘most improved purchasing operation – start up’ category. There’s clearly a lot of appreciation for the services it provides to one million caravan, motor caravan and trailer tent owners. Impressionist and political satirist Rory Bremner did a fantastic job entertaining the audience and adding amusing adlibs, but he had his work cut out as host doing a lot of teacher-like ‘sssshing’ to demand some quiet. He even jested at one point: “It’s your own time you’re wasting.” It was a fun night and while it may have taken some crowd control from Bremner, I was glad to hear more than 1,200 people thoroughly enjoying themselves and the profession making itself loud and clear. To see the first run of pictures from the night go to SM’s photostream, and you can see brief interviews with all winners on SM's YouTube channel.
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